Halliburton Supervisors and Co-Workers Harassed Two Muslim Employees, Federal Agency Charged
DALLAS - Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. has agreed to pay $275,000 and furnish significant relief to settle a national origin and religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC charged that Houston-based Halliburton, one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the energy industry with over 55,000 employees, subjected two oilfield workers to national origin and religious discrimination. The EEOC's suit also alleged that Halliburton unlawfully retaliated against one of the employees by firing him for reporting the mistreatment.
According to the EEOC's suit, Hassan Snoubar, of Syrian national origin, began working for Halliburton as an operator assistant oil field worker in approximately August 2012. During his employment, Snoubar, a U.S. citizen, was subjected to taunts and name calling regarding both his national origin and his Muslim religion. According to the suit, he was frequently called derogatory names and was accused of being associated with ISIS and terrorism by supervisors and co-workers. Mir Ali, a Muslim co-worker of Indian national origin, was similarly subjected to the hostile environment. The EEOC said that the two men were made to openly suffer insults including radio broadcasts of the offensive characterizations.
After being continually criticized about cultural attire and his appearance, Snoubar expressed his concerns to management and human resources, and was then fired as retaliation.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on national origin and religion and retaliation. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division (EEOC v. Halliburton Energy services, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-01736), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
A three-year consent decree settling the suit was signed by U.S. District Court Judge David C. Godbey on October 7, 2019. In addition to paying $275,000 in monetary relief to Snoubar and Ali, the decree enjoins Halliburton from engaging in national origin or religious discrimination or retaliation in the future. The company has also agreed provide training on national origin and religious discrimination to managerial and human resources employees, post a notice of employee rights under Title VII, and report future complaints of national origin and religious discrimination to the EEOC.
"Individual identity is understandably often rooted in a person's religious affiliation and ancestry," said EEOC Dallas District Office Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino. "The employer's approach through this resolution to address employee misconduct in the field and sharpen the company's response to reported harassment also serves as a positive reinforcement of an overall message of mutual respect."
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark added, "Employees should be able to come to the workplace without fear of intimidation or taunts based on where they are from or what religion they observe. We appreciate that Halliburton has committed to helping the EEOC eradicate these forms of discrimination in its workplaces."
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.